When Prince Meets Pauper
Summary: They ran into each other in the marketplace, what Sakura didn't know though, was that she met the prince of the Uchiha Kingdom, Sasuke. Something about her intrigued him and this meeting was certainly not the last... SasuSaku AU
I had this idea in my head for a while, it's kind of Cinderella like, but with some differences. This will be a short fic with perhaps two to three chapters, maybe a little more. I just did this to get the creative juices flowing and help me get through the writers block I've got.
I've been working on this for perhaps a year or a little more and originally it was going to be a long one-shot, but changed my mind.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy!
The marketplace was busy, so full of daily life, a day normally the same as any other. Women chatting away about their lives, some were gossiping and others casting watchful glances at their children at play. Men and women behind the stalls continued to call out to people to advertise their merchandise.
A teenage girl, no older than seventeen, with a soft shade of pink hair and stunning green eyes wandered about the booths. Her skin a creamy white color was brought out by the scarlet tank-top she wore and a tan material wrapped around the black spandex shorts she wore, exposing her long and slender legs and a pink pair of flip-flops.
"Hello Sakura!" a woman called and the pink haired girl tilted her head to the side and smiled.
"Good morning, Aye." She walked up to a woman in her thirties, light brown hair and eyes, tan skin. She smiled at the younger female with a gentle expression, one that seemed motherly. Her clothes signified she was of higher status, as she was clad is a beautiful black dress with a golden bodice tied behind her back.
"I trust things are going well." Aye said, more than asked.
At this the girl sighed, almost tiredly, "Well they're going."
The woman managed to hide her understanding expression. This girl, Sakura, hasn't had an easy life.
"I have a feeling things will get better, there is always a trial before the success." She stated wisely, trying to bring up the girls mood.
"I know," the pink haired girl exhaled again.
"What are you in the market for?"
The women remained silent; Aye knew this was a depressing topic. About to change the topic, her mouth had opened and before any words had come out she was interrupted with a call of her name.
It was her husband, turning back to the girl after informing him she'd be right there, she spoke, "I wish I could speak with you longer, but I think you should get that medicine purchased and head home. I will see you around, Sakura."
She dashed off quickly, picking up her skirts as her name was called again.
Continuing down the street the girl was stunned at the amounts of guards and shinobi there were in the village, on their way to the Uchiha palace. From where she stood, she could see the large white walls that protected the castle and a massive gate with a large red and white fan. Behind those huge slabs of stone stood the place where royalty had resided.
The ones who lived there were the Uchiha, one of the most powerful clans in the Land of Fire. They tended to keep to themselves, only King Fugaku and Queen Mikoto make public appearances before the people. But they did have two heirs, two princes who would continue the Uchiha bloodline. Rumor had it that they were both courting neighboring princesses or other noble ladies.
The Uchiha Princes had never been seen, and there was no proof to this rumor other than a few carriages that entered the Uchiha grounds every so often. 'But it wouldn't be a surprise; they both are royalty and would be expected to find a suitable wife.'
Sakura had often wondered, what it would be like to live there, or to at least see it if even for a moment. What would it be like? She grew up poor. Her parents were simple peasants. She was lucky to have the clothes she had on her back, the leaky roof over her head, and the food she ate.
But she wondered what it would be like to live with a little more money…mainly to be able to buy the medicine she needed for her ill father. With their bills, they had little to no money left for his medication. Her stepmother has a job and helps out, but there's more to her…and her stepsister…
She scowled thinking of the two women; at least she did until she bumped into someone sturdy. Instantly she caught herself. "I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention. Forgive me for my rudeness!" she bowed at the person she had yet to look at.
Hearing a grunt she lifted her head of pink locks and met obsidian eyes captivating her green ones. He was the handsomest man she could recall seeing. Jet black hair sticking up in the back with bangs framing the smooth tan skin of his face. Thin eyebrows over his calculating dark orbs and pale lips placed in a straight line, his expression neutral. The clothes he wore fit him like a second skin, revealing that he had a muscular build underneath, but not overly done like bodybuilders. Just right.
Blue was a definite color that looked good on him, which is the color he was dressed in. Short sleeved high collared shirt and white khaki shorts and white bandages wound around just under his knees and black sandals that wrapped around his ankles.
This stunning man looked to be around her age, though she figured he was a traveler, for she had never seen him before.
Her thoughts then wandered to how she was on her way to get medicine before she crashed into him. Jade eyes widened, "Medicine!" she remembered she was short on time. "Forgive me." She bowed again quickly.
She ran off, only to be watched by those ever attentive onyx orbs as she ran into a building. Glancing around before following slowly to avoid suspicion, he stood next to the open door of the shop the pink haired girl had entered, listening in to the conversation that seemed desperate.
"Please, I'll pay you back! Somehow!" he recognized the voice as the girls.
"I'm sorry, but you're already far in debt, you'll only get farther and there will be no way you or anyone else could pay it off." Said an older man's voice.
"Please…" the girl sobbed, heartbroken.
"I'm sorry; I've already helped as much as I could." Hearing a shuffling and a stifled sob, the eavesdropper hid further from the door to evade being seen and watched as the girl ran out and down the dirt street, dismayed.
The boy, however, continued on his way, not far from the shop the girl had so swiftly raced out of when he spotted a familiar face approaching. Spiky silver hair and a black mask covering his face except his right eye and a bandana-like material covering his left. His clothes were black and a green vest over his long-sleeved shirt. The man's eye glanced around before landing on the boy he had been searching for. Both walked in sync, people stopped and gave a respectful bow to the older man as he passed. He was well known as an adviser to the Uchiha and was often seen roaming the village, Kakashi Hatake.
Once they were a safe distance from snoops and in a more isolated area, the masked man asked, "What are you doing outside the palace walls, Prince?"
The boy shrugged, nonchalantly. "I'm tired of all those fan-girl princesses and noble ladies stalking me in my own home." His voice was rich, music to a maiden's ears.
The man sighed tiredly, "But you're expected to be courting by next summer, Sasuke. And you know you're forbidden to leave the palace grounds."
There was silence between the two before the Uchiha Prince spoke truthfully, "I wanted to see how commoners acted, and see if there are some things that can be done to change any conditions that are worse than expected."
"I see," the man looked at his young highness thoughtfully.
"Kakashi…" Sasuke then addressed him, "you know most if not all of the people in the village. Just before you arrived, there was this peculiar girl, with pink hair and green eyes…" he trailed not knowing how to go on.
"You must be speaking of Sakura Haruno." Kakashi thought out loud, and gave a sigh.
"She needed medicine but was unable to afford it."
The silver haired man sighed, "Her father must be getting worse." At the Princes look he explained. "The Haruno's were once very prosperous, Sakura's mother had died in childbirth, and she is an only child, her father raised her by himself but as she grew older and he felt she needed a mother, so he remarried and she has a daughter of her own. Sakura's father had become ill and it's become hard to pay the bills and have enough money for medicine.
"She's about your age, seventeen if I remember correctly. But her step family isn't really helping her as they should."
Taking the time to mull over the information just gathered before he was interrupted, "You should get back before you get in trouble. Your bodyguard is doing a good job of covering for you at the moment, but you know if he gets distracted, your disappearance will be discovered."
Giving a frustrated sigh, "If only I didn't have to choose a fan-girl for a bride…"
Kakashi gave him a rueful smile, though if you didn't know him well, you wouldn't know what it was.
"I'll go back, but I ask you to do me a favor before you return to the palace…"
She couldn't believe this, she had no medicine to give her father…and he was only getting worse. They couldn't even afford a doctor.
When she arrived home, she had to tell her father how sorry she was that she couldn't get him the medication he needed. He just smiled weakly, his dull green eyes looking back at her. His once dark brown hair was falling out and his face adorned weariness. He had been bedridden for almost five years.
"Sakura…my beautiful…baby girl." He had always had a hard time trying to speak. It was hard enough for him to breathe.
"Shh," Sakura walked up beside him, holding his hand. "Don't speak." She gave him a smile; she always tried to smile for him. Silver tears had formed in her eyes.
"Promise…promise me…" Sakura dared not to interrupt him. "You'll be happy…" he gasped, "when I'm gone…" the tears fell. "Promise…me…you'll live…life…to the full..est…Marry someone…who will…love you…like I did your…mother…I'm sorry, I…won't be here to…see it…and my grandchildren…I will always…love you…my precious…cherry blossom…" his strength now gone, he fell asleep. Sakura whipped the water from her eyes and then there was a knock at her door. Quickly making herself look presentable, she opened the door.
"Yes?" she was confused; they rarely had visitors, unless they were for her stepmom or sister.
"I'm Kakashi Hatake," she knew that name; he was an adviser to the Uchiha. Before she could invite him in he beat her to it. "I was informed your father was in need of some medicine," he lifted a bottle of tablets. "And I thought I'd bring them personally." Once again, Sakura was in tears, only happy tears.
"Thank you, thank you so much!" she jumped and embraced the man, catching him by surprise and she let go quickly. "I'm sorry," she whipped her eyes again. "I'm just…"
"Also, your debt at the pharmacy has been paid off you have your own account and you can get all the medicine you need anytime. All is bought and paid for." Sakura was completely shocked she had to sit down on a nearby chair.
"Who would do this, for us?" she asked herself, not really meaning to say it out loud.
Knowing she didn't ask him, he answered anyway. "He wished to remain anonymous." He smiled underneath his mask, giving her the bottle.
Taking another moment to herself, Sakura then looked to the man, a genuine, heart stopping smile in place. "Thank you," she stood up and approached the man, bowing gratefully before looking up. "When you see him, please tell him how grateful I am; tell him thank you for me and my father. I'm in his debt. Should there be something I can do to repay him, he has but to ask."
"I best be going, and you best get those to your father. Perhaps we'll see each other around. Good day Miss Haruno."
"Good day to you too, Lord Hatake."
"Kakashi is fine," and with that he disappeared in puff of smoke. She stared at where he stood for a moment, the smile never leaving her face before she dashed inside, closing the door.
In the safety of his room, away from squealing women, he tried to calm himself. He hated this!
The youngest Prince had to choose one of these ladies, 'More like brainless fan-girls,' as a wife. Usually the males of the royal family went to the houses that had the women, not them coming to 'win the heart of the princes'.
Prince Sasuke Uchiha didn't wish to marry, perhaps one day, at least not to one of these pampered females. Sighing for what was the millionth time that day within the last two hours since he had returned from the village he'd been stuck with love-sick women. And none of them had his interest, sure they were beautiful and some weren't, but he wouldn't want to live with someone he wasn't attracted to in the least. And they all wanted to be a part of his family, one of the strongest and renowned royal families.
He had been told he was allowed to pick his bride, preferably one of high status, and so far he had declined them all—without a second glance.
Being of royal blood had its downside.
His elder brother Itachi, who was now twenty-two, thwarted his arranged marriage attempts too, for about five years.
There was suddenly a loud and constant banging on his door, "Prince Sasuke!"
Scowling at the door as it continued to pound, he ignored them, pretending to not be there.
After guards shouted and dispelled the racket outside he was left to silence.
Sighing he sat on his bed. The room was everything you could see fit for a prince. A large king-sized bed – which was expected to be shared, and a dark blue bedspread with the famous fan that symbolized the Uchiha.
Curtains the same color pulled over the massive windows that lead to the balcony, and littered the room in total darkness other than the single lit candle. Dressers and a large closet, there was even a wall-like structure you changed behind should there be another occupant in the room for privacy in the corner. A door leading to the bathroom and a desk beside it.
Just then, there were four soft knocks on his door and Sasuke quietly went over and opened it, letting the silver haired man he had seen earlier enter.
Locking it behind him he went back to his bed, resting on it tiredly.
"You don't look so good, Sasuke."
Rubbing his temples the prince replied, "Would you just tell me what happened?" his voice was slightly irritated.
"She accepted it gratefully, you should have seen her and she sends her thanks. I think you are the first person who was generous enough to do such a favor for her. She even said that if there was something she could do for you, just ask."
"Kakashi, you said her family was once wealthy, what happened?" Sasuke was curious before but didn't want to ask in the open.
"Sakura's parents were once well known, very well liked too, even by your family," this caught Sasuke by surprise. "Suddenly their riches were gone; to this day no one knows how, after all the investigating everything turned cold. It remains unsolved. Sakura probably doesn't know that she was once considered rich and a noble who would have most likely been one of the ladies in your court. If I remember correctly, she was two when her father lost his wealth, so she grew up poor."
"Why didn't my parents do anything about it? They were friends weren't they?"
"I don't know, I believe they thought they left the country. You've probably met Sakura once when you were little, before her father lost everything."
"You knew they were here, why haven't my parents seen them?"
Sighing the man answered, "You know how busy royal life is…" he trailed, knowing Sasuke would understand what he meant.
"If I may ask, why did you pay off her debt?"
Figuring he should answer truthfully and knowing full well that he wouldn't go proclaiming it to everyone, like a certain blonde bodyguard, he answered. "She intrigues me."
He had a feeling he'd take Kakashi by surprise, so he carried on. "When she ran into me, she didn't fawn over me like the girls here, and some of the other gossiping ones in the village. That was the first time I actually felt like I was a person and not an object of desire. I don't want to have someone breathing down my neck twenty-four seven, whether it be a wife or guard. I'm caged behind four walls with guard dogs and snakes who either protect or wish to marry me. Who I take as a bride I want to give me some personal space. I'm being suffocated, Kakashi, if she can't let me breathe I'd rather be isolated."
Knowing Sasuke as well as he did, the youngest prince was always one to withdraw himself from people, the only exceptions his family and Kakashi and his loud bodyguard and best friend, Naruto, and a select few friends.
There weren't really any women Sasuke was interested in, hence the problem he was having right now – though he does have a couple female friends, but that is all they are.
So for the Uchiha to say there's one girl who intrigues him is a miracle.
Suddenly a tall spiky blonde male appears out of thin air in front of the door, breathing heavily. The other two occupants look at the heaving teen, his locks are golden and bright blue eyes hidden beneath his eyelids. Three whisker-like marks on both of his cheeks and he was clad in an ugly bright orange jumpsuit and black shoes.
Once he was no longer panting, he opened his eyes and looked at the two others he called friends, he grinned. It was a goofy grin, somewhat mischievous.
"What did you do now, dobe." The prince stated.
"Wouldn't you like to know, teme." His voice was strong, but somewhat childish. "But if you must know," he turned away and blushed slightly, "I'm not telling."
"Would it have anything to do with Princess Hinata?" a smug smirk graced the Princes' lips.
Turning abruptly, he shouted, "Why would you think that?" his face crimson. This earned two small and knowing smirks. "Fine, you got me…"
Naruto had always had a crush on the Hyuuga Princess, and thankfully, she had been a friend to Sasuke and not one of the countless girls trying to woo him into marriage. Besides, Sasuke wouldn't go stealing a girl his friend has had his eyes on since forever. He secretly wished them luck, though he would never say that out loud.
The Hyuuga were another powerful clan in the Land of Fire, and are allies with the Uchiha, but they felt if a Hyuuga and Uchiha were to marry it would strengthen their alliance, so Princess Hinata is one of the ladies he's expected to choose from. And to tell you the truth, she's had her pearl colored eyes on his bodyguard.
"What did you do?"
"Uhh…" he was extremely nervous, whatever it was, had to be serious.
"…I kissed her…"
Both men looked at him, "And someone happened to see you and now you're running for your life?" Kakashi asked, not doing very well to hide his amusement.
"What about Sasuke, has he ever kissed a girl? So who are you going to choose Sasuke?" the bodyguard changed the subject.
Sasuke stiffened, attention having been elsewhere, he had a time limit – and his time was running out.
'Why couldn't they be pressuring Itachi into marriage? He's the oldest.' His father the King always put Sasuke in pressing issues; Itachi was more favored in Father's eyes.
"I'm not choosing."
"What?" Naruto shrieked. "You know what that means if you don't choose a girl."
"I know that!" crimson red eyes with three tomoe – the Uchiha's blood line trait – replaced the onyx ones of the prince as he snapped hard at his best friend. "Stop pressuring me! I'm tired of it! Luckily you don't have to choose someone at the spur of the moment someone to stay by your side for the rest of your life and bare heirs! I already have family pressuring me, and annoying women hanging on me, I don't need you to do the same."
Naruto was silenced; he and Kakashi could hear and see the frustration the youngest member of the royal family was going through. "I hate being royalty for this reason," Sasuke's voice was calmer as he sat on his bed heavily and his head placed in his hands. "Father hasn't pressured Itachi into this, and he's been trying to get him married for five years, but Itachi hasn't even dated and now I have to get married. I don't want just any woman, even if it's to just 'bare heirs'. Can't they all just get off my back and let me find someone for myself? On my time?"
Sighing, Sasuke looked at the two, "Could you both leave, I need to think."
Nodding in understanding, they left.
The Uchiha lay on his bed staring at the ceiling, his hands under his head and elbows stretching outward. His mind drifted to many things, his problem with marriage, and the girl he had run into at the market and her history being the main two he found himself wandering to back and forth.
Sakura had just finished cooking dinner right as the front door opened. The boisterous laughter of her stepsister and then her stepmother made her mind her own business. A teenage girl around her age, red hair and black framed glasses hiding her red eyes who wore skimpy clothing walked in with a thin figure, her face smug, "Hello to my darling stepsister," her voice was mocking, "what have you been doing on this fine day." She took a seat at the small family table in the kitchen and placed dinner on the table as an older woman walked in. Her hair was slightly darker than her daughters, she had brown eyes and wore more modest clothing, but Sakura wasn't fooled.
"Now, now, Karin none of that," her stepmother said, though the pink haired girl knew better. In those brown eyes showed her real intent, they were cold, hostile.
"Hmph," snorted the red head and dug into her food.
Dinner was silent, not that Sakura minded, whenever she and the other women spoke it would always become rude. The girl often wondered what her father saw in this woman, she even wondered if he knew her that well.
Karin eventually started speaking about a boy—she goes through them like candy, and this had to be her fourth one this week. 'What do guys see in her?' Sakura thought constantly every time she mentioned a new boy in her life.
Sakura herself had caught some male attention, but she was so busy taking care of her father she ignored all of them and they eventually moved to someone else. Her top priority was her father. Right now he was the only man in her life, but she can't deny that she didn't have a fantasy of someone who would sweep her off her feet and love her.
As dinner finished the young woman was left to clean, this was normal. She was more of a maid in her own house, not that she minded, she'd rather the house be clean than dirty, but it was tiring having to clean up after her step family – who always were doing whatever throughout their day. She herself was left trying to find a job for the day and pay the bills for her run down home and for her fathers' medicine. That reminded her; some kind soul had paid off her debt at the pharmacy and created an account for her to get the medication she needed.
It once again brought tears to her eyes. Who could have been so kind and generous to do that? Her debt was huge and whenever Sakura had some spare money left after bills, she'd take what was left to pay her debt. But it was never a lot, and she was lucky that the owner had let her get so far behind until earlier. The kind stranger had to have been extremely wealthy for them to have paid it off and not have lost every dollar they had.
Kakashi said it was a he who had asked him to do that. Sakura couldn't think of anyone, she didn't really know many people, she didn't even have a friend she was so busy with her father.
Mind continuing to wander she thought of the boy she bumped into in the market, a slight blush dusted her pale cheeks. 'He was very handsome…' she shook her head to clear it. 'He's probably already taken, not to mention he won't think of me. Not like we'll ever see each other again anyway.' Figures, the first guy she thinks is extremely cute, her hopes are crushed.
After the dishes were cleaned and the table wiped off, she headed for bed. It would be another long day tomorrow.
Life in the Uchiha castle was crazy, more so than usual, well especially with the hordes of princesses who were trying to chase after the prince. He couldn't leave his room without being stalked or grabbed by the arm by one of the noble ladies he was supposed to court. His expression showed he was irritated, which is what he felt all the time he had brainless women throwing themselves at him.
He was led to the throne room with five women on his arm and another six swarming him. Princess Hinata was the only one who didn't hang on him, she gave him a sympathetic smile and he sighed in agitation. She was beautiful, carried herself with grace and elegance.
The room they entered was large with white walls and bright with the sun's light. Paintings of past Uchiha monarchs decorated the walls and massive pillars on each side down the length of the room. A long thick navy blue rug stretched from the entrance to the throne that was up five steps and expanded under the chairs his mother and father sat in. His fathers' chair was larger made of silver and cushioned with the same blue as the rug. The Queens' resembled the Kings, but smaller with a more feminine quality.
On the highest platform, stood his father, mother and brother, all looking at him expectantly. His father, King Fugaku, façade unreadable and his dark hair reaching his shoulders and a silver crown placed on his head, hard onyx orbs rested on his youngest, watching as the girls giggled over him. He was clad in royal blue dress shirt and black pants and black boots on his feet.
The Queen, she was beautiful, her hair was ordinary today – straight down reaching the back of her shoulders. Her eyes were obsidian soft and gentle, Sasuke loved this woman, she didn't like the fact of pressuring either one of her children into marriage, she had been there, she and her husband were actually an arranged marriage, but they had grown to love each other, but that wasn't always the case. A small smile formed her lips, but there was a slight sadness to it, knowing her youngest didn't want this. Fair skin and thin figure covered in a beautiful dress of silver silk and red lace that tied up her bodice and trimmed the end of her clothes. On her head was a thin silver head piece, with a single diamond that made her look like the royalty she is. A silver necklace at her neck, Sasuke recognized it as the one he and Itachi had gotten her, it held two birthstones, Itachi's was a pearl of his birthday in June, and a ruby, which signified Sasuke's birthday in July. She would treasure it always.
And lastly, his elder brother Itachi – the young Prince both hated and loved him, they had a great sibling relationship. But Itachi was always fathers' favorite, but he had always tried to get fathers' attention to the younger. It worked, but not in the way he'd hoped, thus this whole courting and marriage dilemma. Onyx hair and eyes ran in the family, a dominant gene among Uchiha, his hair however was in a long ponytail. A line each under his calm, collected orbs that reflected wisdom for being in his early twenties. He was also sought out by many eligible bachelorettes, but didn't express the desire to court, just as much as Sasuke did, but he did show more respect to the ladies than his younger brother. His build was nice, toned and physically fit, dressed in black garments, a short-sleeved shirt and long plants with boots.
"Sasuke," the stern and somewhat booming voice of his father echoed within the room.
"Father," he answered, a slightly bowing, the girls who accompanied him followed his lead.
His cold and hard eyes set on his youngest son, to whom his throne would be given since his eldest heir had declined and turned that position down. The King scanned over the well-breed ladies beside Sasuke. "Whom do you choose as your bride?"
Straightening upward he met his fathers' eyes, "I wish to speak of this to you without these…" he paused, or he'd say something rude, "ladies present."
Giving a curt nod to him the girls released the young Uchiha's arm with an 'aww' but left the room silently. Once the door had closed, the three members waited for the other to speak.
When he didn't, Fugaku became impatient, his lips forming a straight line, "Well."
"Father, I wish to marry none of these girls." Sasuke met his fathers' now furious orbs.
"And why not?" everyone could sense the anger emitting from the King. "These ladies are of noble blood, the finest of them all. I will not have your insubordination because you do not wish to marry."
"I never said I wouldn't marry, I just said I didn't want to marry any of them." Now the younger Prince was getting irritated. "They all hang on me, and all they want is more wealth. I want to choose for myself."
"I did give you a choice!" Jumping to his feet the older man glared at his second born.
"And I respect that! But you were given time to get to know your betrothed, and I have to pick a fan-girl who stalks me in my own home? If that's the case then you can keep the crown I don't want to be inside the palace, behind closed doors, or a prince or your son!" With that said Sasuke spun on his heel and stormed out of the room, forcefully opening the doors, which startled the girls outside it, and leaving a startled family behind as the heavy doors closed again.
The Queen and her first born looked to the King, surprised to see in his eyes was a flash of turmoil and hurt. It wasn't everyday Fugaku Uchiha was looking as he did at that moment. Sighing the King sat back on his throne heavily brining a hand to massage his temples.
"My King," the woman's voice rang out quietly, softly.
"Father," Itachi said.
The continued silence made the air thick and the eldest son decided to leave to find his brother.
"My King," the Queen repeated, kneeling down before him.
Giving a weary breath, "It's not as if I don't want him to find someone to love…"
"I know," she whispered, "you are both stressed, both pressured."
"Orochimaru is going to annihilate the kingdom if we do not have allies. If Sasuke marries nobility then we'd become stronger because of that."
"You haven't told Sasuke this so what is he supposed to think?"
Shaking his head the King answered, "No, it's not his place to know, I should have killed Orochimaru when I had the chance, and leaving it in Sasuke's hands and pressing him into marriage to assure he won't be defeated was my only option."
"Don't talk like that Fugaku," the woman chided, "we are Uchiha, there are always alternatives."
"If I had killed that traitor then Sasuke wouldn't have to deal with this, a burden I've placed on my son."
"We'll think of something, my love." The Queen comforted.
In the safety of his room again, Sasuke laid on his bed, on his stomach and arms under his pillows. Suddenly he felt a familiar presence, his brother. "What do you want?" he all but scowled, not bothering to look his way.
He heard a tired sigh, "You don't know how much Father regrets putting this strain on you."
Sasuke gave a humorless laugh, "Sure he does, perhaps you should have kept the throne, his firstborn, his prized son who's everything his second son is not."
Itachi knew that there was one thing that upset Sasuke was that he was expected to be like himself, never his own person, but the younger prince didn't realize that their father had shifted his expectations only a while ago. "Father sees you differently now Sasuke."
"You don't know about the war that is troubling Father."
"What war? He tells you everything, his firstborn, as usual." There was resentment in there.
Having enough, the eldest was suddenly at his brother's side and yanked him up by his collar, face-to-face with him and explained, "Orochimaru is threatening war with us, Father wants a stronger alliance so he can be defeated."
"Why can't you get married and fight him then?"
Both Uchiha Princes were scowling and glaring at each other with red eyes. Just as quickly he had appeared he released the spiky haired boy, "You have the potential to defeat him better than I could."
Sasuke didn't believe that in the slightest, Itachi was a master at everything, he was everything he wasn't. He had witnessed his brother become the best at defeating the strongest of shinobi that came to test the Prince's strength.
"Hn. Whatever." He turned away.
"Perhaps that pink haired Haruno would make a suitable wife for you," Itachi said, suppressing his smile when he watched Sasuke stiffen before he turned over his shoulder.
"How do you know about that?" he asked lowly.
At this Itachi smirked, "You're not the only one who leaves the castle."
"Hn, whatever," he looked anywhere but his brother.
"She's beautiful, and not a fan-girl," he was enjoying his teasing.
"Shut up," Sasuke hissed.
"I thought a non-fan-girl is what you wanted?"
"Is there a reason you're pestering me?"
"It's what older brother's do, get under their younger brother's skin about a girl, if you don't make a move, I might." That part was a lie; he thought Sasuke and Miss Haruno would make an adorable couple.
Holding down his snicker at his choice of the word 'adorable', if Sasuke had heard he'd be furious. He doesn't like 'cute' words.
"I'll be off now, think of what I said about Sakura though," and the elder Prince vanished.
Once he was gone, Sasuke got off his bed and changed his close into identical ones from yesterday and disappeared. He had to get out of the palace.
The day was going great for a pink haired teenage girl. The sun was bright, birds singing their daily music. She had even found a temporary job and was to start tomorrow. It was around noon, and she had just checked on her sleeping father and made a bento box for lunch grabbing a blanket quickly and left for the lake that was lurking in Konoha's forest.
She hummed to herself along the way and when the sparkling water came into view she walked toward the edge. The water was calm and rippled lightly with its waves. Putting her lunch down she stretched in the sunlight, smiling at the sky.
Not in the mood to eat just yet she pulled off her sandals and made her way into the cool refreshing liquid before diving in.
Upon her approach, she didn't realize she had startled someone, the same one she had bumped into the day before. He was hiding amongst the trees, parting leaves and watching her cheerful demeanor, a small smile played his lips as his dark eyes shifted every direction she appeared from the lake. When she went under again, he decided he'd reveal himself and was standing beside the spread blanket and the rest of her belongings.
She popped up again this time close to her things and turned to meet the pair of onyx eyes she had stared into only yesterday, she jumped. "Hi," she said, to keep herself from ogling. Bringing her hands to her hair she twisted it to wring out the excess water and sit on one side of the blanket.
"You're welcome to sit if you'd like," she said, "I'm Sakura Haruno." She smiled at him.
"Sasuke," and he left it at that, sitting down beside her.
"Are you a traveler? I've never seen you before." Her jade orbs held curiosity.
"Something like that, I don't get out much."
"Oh," she grabbed her bento box, "would you like some?" she offered, "I only brought enough for one, but I could share, it would be rude to eat in front of you."
He watched her and looked toward her meal, "Its fine, I've already eaten," and that's when his stomach had to contradict him with a growl. The dark haired boy turned away before she could see the embarrassed shade of pink that rose to his face.
"You were saying, Sasuke." She grinned playfully.
Before he noticed she stood up, "C'mon!" she chirped, grabbing him and pulling him up and let go before she gathered all of her things. "Follow me," and she was off.
Sasuke stood there, confused before following unsurely. "You do realize I'm a stranger. I could kidnap you or something horrible, you know that right?"
She smiled back at him, never stopping. "I do, but I get the feeling you need a friend." She turned, "Now c'mon, I have more food at my place." There was a bounce in her step and she didn't notice she was humming.
From behind her, Sasuke could hear her tune, it was a common children's rhyme. He had to smile slightly and shake his head watching her. 'She's different indeed.' The thick foliage thinned out and the village came into view.
"We're almost there," she glanced at him.
When she stopped at a door to a rundown shack that was isolated from the village, Sasuke stopped, taking it in. Noticing his look the girl answered, "It isn't much, but its home." The prince in disguise could see a reminiscent look before she smiled to him. "Come in."
Stepping inside he looked around, there were few furniture, the building was simple and the first he had ever been in. Closing the door behind him, Sakura spoke, "I must check on my Father. Help yourself to the food on the counter."
The kitchen was next to the front door, where the living room looked in. Cupboards were faded and dull countertops with a few covered bowls placed on them. There was a table fit for four and an old stove and refrigerator.
Deciding to follow the girl to a room with a single bed and a bedside dresser with a lamp – he found Sakura sitting in a chair, holding an older man's hand and running a damp cloth on his forehead.
From the doorway Sasuke watched. He couldn't help but feel for Sakura, tending to her ill father. It must be hard. The prince couldn't imagine what it would be like, to take care of the only family you had left.
He heard a low, "Sakura."
"Shh…don't speak." She said softly.
He observed from his position as Sakura continued to dab her father's face. Standing up she leaned down and kissed his brow, "I'll be right back." Now seeing Sasuke in the doorway she lowered her head as she passed, their eyes briefly meeting.
Once she was out of the room, Sasuke saw the bedridden man gesture to him to come closer. As he approached he heard the man speak, his voice scratchy, "I thought….I recognized…you, Sasuke…right?"
The dark haired teen nodded, "Yeah."
Closing his tired eyes before they landed on the young prince, "I won't…last much longer…Sakura, she'll be alone." He said slowly, "Watch her for me…please."
"You have my word."
"An Uchiha's word…is always good." The sick man smiled slightly, as if remembering many things.
When he started a coughing fit Sakura reentered the room with a plate and glass of water. She moved quickly and gracefully, placing the objects in hand on the dresser. "Father," her voice concerned as she braced his neck up and brought the glass to his lips, his coughs continuing to grow worse.
He nearly choked as the cool liquid entered his parched throat before his coughs halted altogether. Laying him back down Sakura chided him softly. "Whatever you two were talking about, you spoke too much."
Sasuke waited as she fed him, and before she left when he finished, she kissed his cheek – he was now breathing lightly.
Moving aside so she could lead him they both entered the kitchen, Sakura put the dirty dishes in the sink and moved to get a clean plate for Sasuke. "What's wrong with him?" His smooth, velvety voice asked.
"I don't know," she replied, turning to him and setting his meal down and he moved to a chair, "we can't afford a doctor, and truthfully…we couldn't afford medicine until recently."
"Do you have any other family?" Sasuke paused in his eating to ask a question that Kakashi had answered for him.
"Only step family…a sister and a mother" she didn't elaborate farther. "What about you?"
"Mother, Father, and an older brother," Sasuke answered.
The day continued on with the occasional checks on Sakura's father and other than that most of it was silent between the two, both unsure of what to say, and Sasuke wasn't really one for conversation. For the girl, it was kind of nice to have some company, since it's been so long since she'd really had anyone to talk to – other than family.
The front door opened as the sun was about to set and Karin entered, "Sakura! You little—" she stopped in her screeching when she noticed Sasuke. "Hello," her voice changing into one she uses on guys, "who are you, handsome?" Sakura felt a wave of jealousy, but she knew this was how Karin always acted, she had to look away to hide her expression, she had inwardly prayed that Sasuke wouldn't fall for her act. The incognito Prince was interiorly cursing at his luck, he thought he got away from women like that. His face perfectly masked to his thoughts, the red head girl pressed on, "And what are you doing with my sister, I'm sorry you've only had her for company. I know you must have been bored to death."
'So this is her stepsister? I don't see how she's lived with her.' He also didn't like the insults directed toward the pinkette, she'd been good company.
"I can show you around," the red-head took off her glasses to show off her bright crimson eyes.
Standing up abruptly, Sasuke reached over and grabbed Sakura's wrist, "It's getting late, I should get going."
"Of course," she replied, stopping a smile from forming on her lips at his rejection to Karin's advances.
"Thank you for lunch Sakura," Sasuke replied from his position outside, he was all too aware of a pair of eyes on him and Sakura, he even felt her dangerous aura. "It was delicious."
"You're welcome, Sasuke." The way he said her name made her heart flutter.
"Perhaps we'll see each other around. Goodnight, Sakura."
She closed the door as he disappeared in the darkening forest. When she turned around she could see a 'non-too-pleased' stepsister with slitted eyes.
"So…Sakura…" her voice sounded too sweet, Sakura knew this would cause trouble, so she walked toward the kitchen to start dinner to get away from what Karin had planned, unfortunately she followed. "How did you meet him, Sasuke, you said his name was, right?"
"On the street," the elder responded meat and vegetables in hand for dinner and placing them on the counter.
"And you invited him over for lunch…? And he enjoyed it…?"
"Yes," the pan on the stove had the meat cooking.
"You do know he was looking for me, right?"
'Yeah right.' Sakura thought, ignoring her.
"That's why he bumped into you, and besides, who would even look at you? You're ugly. Sorry dear, but it's true. He was just being nice. That was so sweet of him, wasn't it, to give you false hope?"
"Karin, I know what you are trying to do, it's not going to work, and it never has. So get off your high horse and understand that he did in fact reject your advances. He's probably the first to do so, isn't he?" she didn't stop her preparation for dinner.
The other female was getting impatient, and tried a different approach, "He's just playing hard to get. He'll be mine; he's fine on all levels. Better than all the other guys I've seen."
That's when Sakura snapped, her body turned in a hundred-eighty degrees, her emerald orbs ablaze, "Sasuke is not a piece of eye candy! He won't go to you! He's nothing like all the other guys you've been with, he's different!"
"Why are you so defensive Sakura?" Karin had an evil gleam in her eyes. "You like him, don't you?"
"So what if I do, he was good company," Sakura turned back to dinner, chopping vegetables.
"Don't get your hopes up, who would want an insignificant girl like you? You're nothing special."
"You know what, Karin, you can finish dinner. Make yourself useful, unless you want to starve. My father and I had already eaten and we're full, so make your own meal." After turning off the stove Sakura left everything where they were and headed off to her run-down bedroom. Tiredly, Sakura jumped on her bed, face buried within her pillow.
To say she wasn't hurt by her stepsister would be a lie, but she was used to Karin's antics and never took them to heart. Pale light from the slowly rising moon filtering over the treetops into her dark room, she sighed watching the giant orb in the night sky continue its upward path. She thought back to her day, how she managed to find herself a job and her trip to the lake and how she had actually got to meet Sasuke and then spending the rest of the afternoon with him. He was her first real company in years.
Karin said he was there just to be nice, but Sakura had got the feeling that he was enjoying her companionship as much as she was his. She smiled visibly when she recalled how he acted when Karin was trying her best to seduce him with her petty words; she was relieved that he hadn't fallen for her false charm.
Letting out a small giggle, she cast her jade eyes to the moon, her only companion on this silent night and her features bright in its pale glow. "Thank you, Sasuke." She said, as if the Sun's sister would relay the message to him.
Closing her eyes with a smile she snuggled into her pillow, remembering how they would probably see each other again – that was a day she was looking forward to.
Briefly she heard Karin scream in the kitchen, with the cluttering of a pot on the floor, followed by a cry of pain.
Sakura fell into sweet dreams, never realizing there was a figure, who had remained close since his departure—watching and hearing all—hidden among the trees. A barely there smile graced his usually straight lips, "You're welcome, Sakura."
For Sakura her week had been busy. Her job was tiring at times but she kept going. She went to one home to clean, like a maid if you will, and then to another. She never did mind keeping house, she'd rather it be clean than having unexpected visitors show up and see a pigsty, not that they really had anyone who would visit, but now, Sakura might have at least one.
She hadn't seen Sasuke in a week, she hadn't really been able to think about him, and when she did it was on her down time, she often found herself wondering where he was and what he was doing.
A yellow bandana was tied around her head to keep her hair from getting in her face while she worked and on top of her everyday clothing was a dirty white apron, to protect her clothes from getting ruined.
The pink haired girl gave a tired sigh, wiping her forehead with the back of her hand. 'All done scrubbing the floor,' her knees hurt from kneeling so long. She was in the home of a wealthy man; the hardwood floor now sparkled like new. Lifting up the bucket she returned to the laundry room and walked out of the door dumping the dirty water in the outside gutter. A cool breeze brushed across her skin, cooling her with its gentle caress. Placing the bucket upside down on the short stone wall Sakura moved over to the dry clothes on a line from one tree to another and placed each article of clothing into a wicker basket and brought it indoors.
To pass the time and to not bore herself she began to hum a tune. She always hums when she's working, she's always enjoyed music. She was so focused with her folding clothes she didn't notice the master of the house had appeared at the doorway.
"Sakura," he was an older man, perhaps in his early forties. He had deep brown eyes and thinning out brown hair and he wore simple clothing, a red long-sleeved shirt and black pants.
Startled, said teenager turned to the man, "Oh, sorry Mr. Yamatsu I wasn't paying attention." She replied sheepishly.
He smiled at her, "You can finish those clothes and you can have the rest of the day off."
She blinked, "Are you sure, sir. I didn't even finish the tapestries and…"
He held up a hand to stop her. "You've done enough for today. And you've been working since eight this morning, I wasn't expecting you to get this much done but this is the cleanest I've seen this house in years. Take the rest of the day off and you can come back and finish another day," reaching into his pockets he pulled out her pay…which was more than Sakura was expecting.
"Here, take tomorrow off too." He held his hand out for her.
"Sir, that's unnecessary and that is too much!"
"Nonsense, I think it's a great amount for what you've done today. Go, buy yourself a new dress or something, and if you refuse to take all of this, I'll find someone else to clean my house." He said with a grin.
Sakura sighed in defeat and looked to see the man's grin broaden, "Thank you, Mr. Yamatsu." She accepted every bill he handed her, though she felt that she didn't deserve all he had given her, but he seemed to think otherwise.
"You're a good girl Sakura; there aren't many young women like you anymore. I can see whatever man wins your heart you will be a fine wife for him. The traits you have are rare nowadays."
Unable to form words, Sakura just nodded and reached for the laundry basket of folded laundry, but it was already in the man's arms. "Go Sakura, Akimi taught me how to at least put clean laundry away."
Knowing that she couldn't argue she said her goodbye's to the man. Yamatsu Higarashi, his wife passed away perhaps three years ago due to childbirth, not even the baby survived and since then Yamatsu remained single. He really was a kind man and well known too.
Looking down at the money in hand, there was plenty extra, 'It's been a while since I had a little extra to buy myself something. Hmm…what do I want to buy? If I show up with something Karin and Cho will ask where I got it. Perhaps I could buy something to eat.' Now in the market Sakura was looking around to see if there was anything she was hungry for. 'Perhaps I should just save this and when I think of something I want.'
That was it, that's what she was going to do.
She decided she'd better go check on her father.
"Hey teme! That was uncalled for!" shouted a blonde bodyguard.
"Just shut up dobe and fight me, unless you're afraid you'll lose." Came the calm reply from a young Uchiha prince.
Naruto growled, "You'll pay for that teme!"
He then tackled Sasuke to the ground. "Get off of me you idiot!"
From the trees Kakashi was watching the two best friends rolling around in the dirt. He was supervising. The tree he was next to had a bench with a few towels and a cooler of water. 'These two are hopeless…' hearing approaching footsteps he turned his head to bow slightly when he found Itachi walking up to him.
"I see Sasuke's stalkers haven't found him yet," he said, "but they will if they keep yelling."
"Are you hiding too?"
"Why would I have to hide?" Itachi asked.
The silver haired man shrugged, "Perhaps because the King had sent word to other kingdoms informing them that his eldest son is also taking a bride." At the corner of his eye he could see Itachi try to suppress his flinch.
"Darn it," the elder prince mumbled.
The four were in a secluded area in the Uchiha grounds, a secret training area, where no brainless fan-girls can get in without being invited. The guards were under strict orders, by Sasuke, to let no one who was female enter; the only exception was the Queen or Princess Hinata. Prince Sasuke stressed this, that if anyone other than those two appeared, the guards would be severely punished, and they complied greatly in understanding – not really knowing Sasuke wouldn't be that harsh.
"I think I'll have sleeping bags and tents brought out then," the elder prince continued.
"Afraid of fan-girls are you, your highness?" Kakashi inquired.
"I'll send you to the horde of women if you don't keep your silence," Itachi glared, no threat behind it.
"I'm shaking," the Hatake replied with heavy sarcasm.
"You should be," Itachi said.
The chirping of birds sounded, both Naruto and Sasuke had detangled themselves from one another and attacked. The numerous holes in their shirts were reduced to nothing, leaving the two males in only their pants and sandals.
If there were any females present, they'd be drooling at the sight of two sculpted chests. "I'm gonna win teme!"
"Not a chance dobe!"
The earth shook with their blows colliding and causing destruction.
Minutes turned to hours and neither seemed to be ready to give up, even though they were both exhausted, each were taking deep breaths of air but never taking their eyes off their opponent. Their chests glistened with sweat and dirt and even a few bruises.
"Give up Naruto, you can't win," Sasuke panted out, his posture slouched.
Naruto snorted, "I'll never give up to you Sasuke, you should know that about me by now. I'll win!"
"Hn, whatever, it's your fault for not backing out you know," Sasuke charged.
"Bring it on teme!"
At the sidelines, Kakashi got bored hours ago and started reading his favorite book, Icha Icha Paradise and he'd taken to sitting on a low tree branch.
Meanwhile Prince Itachi had set himself down on a patch of grass leaning against the tree trunk, watching his younger brother and his silly bodyguard duel. He shook his head, it was good for Sasuke to have friend like Naruto, and for Naruto to have Sasuke.
They were so different; Sasuke was more of the loner and Naruto the clown and ramen fanatic. The blonde's parents were family friends, Naruto's father, Minato was a General in King Fugaku's army and he was killed fighting against Madara Uchiha, Itachi and Sasuke's great uncle. Madara was an Uchiha gone bad, he wanted the throne and would kill for it. Kushina Uzumaki, Naruto's mother, died shortly after childbirth. Once Naruto's parents died, Mikoto and Fugaku had brought him into the castle and raised him and from there he and Sasuke had a weird sort of friendship. Sasuke was always accomplished, and Naruto was more of a screw-up, but his determination and will to surpass Sasuke had caused to him to become a great warrior and his younger brother's bodyguard.
They really were and unlikely pair.
And currently, the object of the blonde's affection came strolling up, second to ramen that is…
"Itachi, Kakashi," came a shy voice.
"Good day Princess," Kakashi greeted with a gesture of his head, attention actually away from his book before it returned.
"Princess Hinata, what brings you here?" The elder Uchiha asked.
She smiled slightly, her silver eyes stood out among her violet colored hair that reached just past her shoulders. Her tan skin was unblemished and the pastel purple gown that she wore helped her stand out among the sea of green in the forest. It appeared like a Roman toga and fit her body nicely.
She brought herself down to her knees at Itachi's side and watched the duel as she answered. "I was getting away from crying women," she looked him in the eye now, smiling, "it seems Sasuke's broken a lot of hearts."
At a distance she heard Sasuke snort, "Good."
He limped over to her, forgetting all about him and Sasuke being in the middle of a spar. Leave it to Naruto to get sidetrack with Hinata present…
'Oh well, guess that means I win,' Sasuke thought, heading over to the shade of the trees.
"Did you see me kick Sasuke's butt, Hinata!" Naruto shouted.
She smiled sympathetically, "Sorry Naruto, I just arrived."
"Well, since you didn't see me beat teme up, I did…" he would have went on if Sasuke didn't whack him upside the head.
"Can you not let my fan-girls know where we are…"
"Sorry Sasuke," the Hyuuga said, "they already know, your spar led them to the gates, the guards are having a hard time fending off the horde of women."
"Then how'd you get in Hinata?" Naruto asked.
"Um…well…one of the guards jumped me over…"
"What? Someone touched you, which guard was it? I'm gonna wring his neck! I'll teach—"
The Princess gave him a quick kiss to the cheek which shut him up instantly; he was blushing when the three other males smirked.
"So when did this happen…?" Itachi asked.
"Wouldn't you like to know," the blonde murmured, head turned away and arms crossed in a pouting fashion.
He knew that would get him.
"Since…like…four days ago, ok, geeze!" Naruto was red and Hinata couldn't help but giggle.
"There's no need to be shy dobe," Sasuke had to say, smirk present on his lips. "We all know you've liked Princess Hinata since forever…"
Naruto glared dangerously at him, but he wasn't fazed.
Deciding to help Naruto out, and to try to get some answers from Sasuke, Itachi turned the tide.
"And what about you, Sasuke."
Having an idea what Itachi was getting at, Sasuke played cool, expression giving nothing away. "What about me?"
"What about your 'out of the palace experience'? Who were you with last week? Were you with Sakura?"
"Sakura," Naruto repeated, then turned to his best friend. "Who's Sakura, Sasuke?"
"Who indeed." A smirk graced the pony-tailed man's lips.
"Oh, c'mon, teme, tell us, she could probably help you get out of your engagement with fan-girls." Naruto said.
Just then a hundred of loud shrieks echoed through the training ground. "Sasuke!"
Both Uchiha cringed, and the oldest looked to Kakashi, "Could you inform Mother and Father that we'll be sleeping under the stars tonight."
"Afraid of women, Itachi?" Sasuke mocked.
Turning his stoic face to his younger sibling, he replied, "If you want to venture out there with squawking women, be my guest." He smirked when his words wiped Sasuke's expression clean off. "That's what I thought, besides," he looked to the sky that was beginning to dim, "this is the perfect time to figure out about Sakura."
Realization dawned on the other four, Sasuke inwardly mortified, Kakashi's lone eye gleaming mischievously, Hinata was itching with curiosity – she had to be different from other girls for Sasuke to be attempting to avoid the topic, and an ever exuberant orphan who jumped up as if he sat on a red ant hill. "I'll tell the cooks to prepare pots and pans and food so we can have a cook out, mmm…ramen on a campfire…" he was all but drooling over the thought before he was back to being excited. He made his way to Sasuke's side and wrapped an arm around his shoulder, the Prince's right eyebrow was twitching, "It'll be just like old times, eh, teme, under the stars…" he then turned to his best bud and grinned slyly, "and this time you have a girl on your thoughts, I wonder if she'll be the first one to deny your advances, you know the first girl you've ever tried your moves—" the blonde was then embedded in a thick tree trunk, which broke in half.
"Shut up, dobe, I won't tell you anything until all the supplies are gathered, and until after we have eaten…" Sasuke all but scowled.
Naruto sat up, all dirty and placed a hand to his head to ease the slight throbbing before he caught what was exactly said, he and the other's simply stared at him, all baffled in their own way.
"You mean you're actually going to tell us what we want to know…? No torture to get it out of you…?" his bodyguard was stumped, knowing Sasuke for as long as he had, he wasn't one to willingly give information. "She must have you hooked!"
The aura around the spiky haired male was menacing. Each one there took the hint.
"I'll get tents and sleeping bags, and inform the King and Queen," Kakashi vanished in a puff of gray smoke.
"Like I said, I'll get food and stuff…Hinata," the Princess followed Naruto closely, he would have to jump her over the wall that protected the training grounds after all.
The Uchiha brothers were left alone; the younger was calming down, "Why do you do this to me?"
"It's my job, besides, I think she'd be a good match for you," Itachi walked off, looking for firewood, Sasuke followed, not about to let him off the hook.
"And you happen to be a master at relationships?" he inquired, "You've never had one."
"I'm a good judge of character."
Sasuke snorted and scanned around for wood they could use for a fire. 'It's been a while since we've all camped out.' He thought. Despite the fact that they were royalty, they were trained to work, when they had to lead men to battle, how to set up camp and post sentries and so forth. Their mother Mikoto had even drilled into their heads that they should pick up after themselves, so their wives and the maids didn't have to clean up after them every moment of the day. Uchiha were taught hand-to-hand combat and how to use a variety of weapons at an early age, especially to find the one they favored. Sasuke enjoyed working with his katana, the one his former sensei Orochimaru had given him. 'Orochimaru.' This man was once a trusted High Council member in King Fugaku's court and was once Sasuke's second sensei, Kakashi had been Sasuke and Naruto's first mentor before both boys had trained under another.
Orochimaru had always had a creepy feeling about him. His skin was deathly white and purple triangle-like markings from his golden snake-like eyes running down the sides of his nose. Slick black hair reaching down passed his shoulder blades. He even had a slithery voice that could make ones skin crawl.
Itachi had discovered he wasn't to be trusted, and he had witnessed the High Council member plotting to destroy the royal family. It was also uncovered, that the unsolved murder of the predecessor of King Fugaku, who was the current kings father – was tied to Orochimaru, who had hoped to gain the crown. Orochimaru vanished before he could be charged for his crimes.
But now there was a war stirring, one Sasuke had no knowledge of. Wood had been gathered and Itachi was in the process of making a large ring of stone where their fire would be. "Itachi?"
"What is it?" he never once stopped what he was doing, but he did glance at Sasuke.
"Why wasn't I informed about Orochimaru?"
The older Uchiha sighed, "Father didn't want to burden you with the news."
"But it is if I have to date and rule in a few years time, a war may take a long time to resolve. How am I to lead an army if I have no idea there's even a war going on?" Sasuke growled.
"I understand that, but I will be here to assist you as a counselor when you become King," Itachi stated, standing up to wipe the dust off of his knees. "That way I will be at your service."
For the first time in a long time, Sasuke couldn't think of anything to say, but he knew, he could always count on his brother.
Time moved rather quickly for Sasuke. The sky was a deep blue and glittered with stars and the full moon ever watchful over her charge.
A medium sized bonfire was set up and the wood crackled under the hot flames. Everyone was almost finished with their meals, Naruto slurping down massive quantities of ramen while the others ate in a more sophisticated manner. Hinata had informed the cook that they wanted to prepare their own meals on the campfire and she had gathered meats and vegetables for the prince's and their companions—including a lot of noodles for the bodyguard.
It was no surprise that Naruto was still eating when the others had eaten their fill. They all wondered where it went.
When the blonde was finished he sighed contently and rubbed his stomach, "That was so good! Now I'm ready for Sasuke's story!"
Unfortunately, Sasuke wasn't ready. He'd preferred to keep things to himself. But he did agree to tell them, even if it was only to get them to shut up…
He figured he'd just have to get this over with.
"What do you want to know?"
"Everything, duh!" his best friend shouted in his ear.
The young prince sighed, when it came to Itachi and Kakashi, secrets didn't last long for Sasuke, that's why he never told them anything, but they always managed to figure it out.
"Her name is Sakura Haruno, she's poor. I went out last week and she happened startle me and that's how we met. She invited me over to her house for lunch and after a while I left. There, happy?"
"No! Where's the details Sasuke? Family? Friends? Why'd she invite a stranger to her house? Does she know who you are?" Hinata placed her hand over her longtime crushes mouth.
"I think he understands now, Naruto." She smiled, removing her hand.
"…I was at the lake, and she startled me. I hid thinking it was one of these stuck up princesses, but it was her. She brought herself a lunch and she went swimming…" he stopped when he saw Naruto wiggle his eyebrows, Hinata elbowed him, "…in her clothes, dobe. Get your head out of gutter." He growled, and he wondered why they thought he would tell them anything. "I was there when she came out, she greeted me, and offered me lunch, I wasn't hungry," Sasuke's face twisted darkly, embarrassed, "then my stomach growled…"
"Classic," Itachi commented, not afraid of the look he had just been given.
"She invited me to her house since she had more…and I met her ill father…he recognized me once Sakura was out of the room. He doesn't look very well."
He heard Kakashi sigh tiredly, "Did you know him well Kakashi?"
"You could say that, he did spend a lot of time at the palace." The silver haired man answered.
"He seems to know his times almost up."
"Then what will happen to Sakura?" Hinata asked.
"I promised to watch her…"
"You're moving fast aren't you, teme?" Naruto wiggled his brows again.
"She's a citizen of my kingdom to be, I won't leave people to suffer…" Sasuke had made up his mind how he'd treat his people.
"Those are the traits of a great King Sasuke." Kakashi said, his words were acknowledged by the others. "A great King always looks out for his people."
The rest of the night was engaged in polite conversation and as the group laid down for bed, it was warm enough to sleep without tents and the fire burned slightly.
Naruto started snoring, and at the corner of his eye, the young Uchiha prince could see his older brother pull a second pillow over his head to try and block out the noise—which was a complete failure. He could also see the look at crossed the dark haired mans' face; he was debating whether or not to smother the loud blonde.
Sasuke looked up to the stars overhead and gazed into the twinkling lights before he fell asleep with one last thought on his mind, "I wonder what Sakura is doing…?'
Done with Part I!
How was it? Hopefully you enjoyed the beginning of it. Again this will be a short story with only a few chapters. Updates will probably be slow and Untold Engagement will be updated next, now that I know how the next chapter will go.
Reviews are appreciated and criticism is welcome. I think I got most of the typo's and I look forward to reading your feedback.
Until next time!